Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Ladies First

Ever since the dawn of the superhero in the comic pages over 70 years ago, the world of superheroes has been a near-exclusive, little-boys club. It has been a male-dominated collection of characters and stories, and although female characters did come around and play a large role in the overall history and mythology, they never seemed to be able to get up front and center…and have often been left to figure out the secret knock to the clubhouse on their own.
This unfortunate trend has carried over into the many comic-to-film adaptations, although some minor strides have been made. Marvel has brought forward popular characters such as Black Widow and Lady Sif, while DC has had success with their female villains such as Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. Fox Studios has been the most successful in developing their female characters in their X-MEN franchise (Storm, Rogue, Jean Grey, Mystique), while Sony has just made the girls of their SPIDER-MAN films screaming damsels-in-distress. Female characters have been playing second-fiddle in superhero films just as much as they have been in their comic origins, but all that is about to change.

Within the past few weeks, rival comic-book studios Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Bros. made some major announcements concerning their upcoming movies. First, DC unleashed a full slate of films, nine in total, up to the year 2020. Among those films is the first ever WONDER WOMAN movie; marking the first major studio production of a female hero-led film. The character, which is one of DC’s most iconic and long-lasting, will be played by Gal Gadot. Gadot will actually debut the character in DC’s BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE in 2016.
Not to be outdone, Marvel and Disney just this week announced their schedule of films to great fanfare; nine in total up the year 2019. Among the impressive and ambitious lineup was Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, CAPTAIN MARVEL. No casting announcement was made.

Both studios deserve major credit and a round of applause for committing to these films which would be the first of their kind. Both Marvel and DC have the chance to make a long-lasting impression in the same way Sigourney Weaver did in the ALIEN franchise, and Uma Thurman did in the KILL BILL films.

And of course, talk and speculation began over who should direct these two history-making films, and the opportunity for both studios to open up the clubhouse a little bit more seems to be presenting itself. Along with the lack of female superheroes, there has also been a lack of female directors working in the genre. Both Marvel and DC have the chance here to not only get some diversity behind the camera, but to offer a unique viewpoint that the overabundance of superhero films have yet to find. After all, no one understands a woman better than a woman, so maybe having that perspective at the helm will make both WONDER WOMAN and CAPTAIN MARVEL special movies for more than just the obvious reasons. Both studios should be open to this, but of course…the real goal is to find the best person for the job; what’s best for the movie comes first, and that’s what the decision must be based on. WONDER WOMAN and CAPTAIN MARVEL may be two of the most important movies in their respective universes and they need to be treated like a lady; with respect, care, and as if they’re the only lady in the world.
What say you?


DC’s WONDER WOMAN arrives in 2017. Marvel’s CAPTAIN MARVEL lands in 2018.

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